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Not quite a century old, original Leslie Junior High School disappears

A view from a drone shows construction crews making progress to take down the old Leslie Junior High School, adjacent to South Salem High School. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

The brick school house that was Leslie Junior High School opened in 1927, serving south Salem for 70 years. When the new Leslie Middle School opened in 1997, the old structure got new life as a charter school.

That ended last year, as the Salem-Keizer School District moved ahead with plans to take out the old building to make way for expanding the high school.

The demolition work has been a bit of a local tourist attraction – though such “sidewalk superintendents” were reminded by signs to still follow social distancing guidelines.

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PHOTOS: Old Leslie Junior High School building demolished

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Photographer Ron Cooper and his wife Penny moved to Salem in 1969 to take a job as photographer at the Oregon Statesman (later the Statesman Journal). Their three children, Monica, Kimberly, and Christopher, attended and graduated from Salem public schools. Cooper retired from the Statesman Journal in 2001 but, has continued his passion for photography in many ways, including as a photographer for the Salem Reporter.